Friday, July 25, 2008

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Megan wrote this really touching piece on Jezebel about the first time she realized she was a lot like her mother, and as I'm sitting inside on a gorgeous New York summer day battling an oncoming fever, I'm just like, UGH MY PARENTS AND I ARE SO THE SAME.

It goes beyond facial expressions, but they are what cause me to become the most painfully conscious of the fact that probably I will be on antidepressants my entire life and get married young and divorced young and become an artist for a year and then throw away all of my water colors and buy a house in Mount Airy with a patio where I can smoke Salems and read dusty library books. Sometimes the way I laugh or use my hands while I'm talking triggers an out of body experience that causes me to look down on myself as if I am watching my mother participate in the same conversation. Once in middle school, I got so angry at my mother that I wrote a list of qualities I disliked about her and it basically read like my personality map now: strong-willed, prone to oversharing, insomnia and depression, queen of the annoying habit of turning every conversation into a soul shattering epiphany. I'm a lot like my Dad, too: when things in my life grow difficult I'm wont to hide until they get better, I'm anxious and silly and a tiny bit of a control freak. I have freckles.

The thought of growing into my parents used to terrify me, but now instead of shying away from the similarities we harbor, it's sometimes nice to revel in them. My Dad doesn't really know what my life in New York is like or how new media functions (though really, who does?), but I can call him and talk to him about politics and school and the fact that they're talking shit on me on some blog over at The New Republic. My Mom and I talk about everything from feminism to boyfriends to Gawker to music. Instead of freaking out about how my worst nightmare of even minorly resembling them continues to grow increasingly realistic, I've decided to just let things pan out. I'm still very much on my own path, carving a way for myself that is highly different from anyone else in my family. But if we have the same blood then it makes sense we would have similar - if not the same - characteristics, even if they are the annoying ones or the cruel ones or the ones we feverishly swore off in the heat of angry teenaged fights with door slamming and illicit cigarettes on the roof.

We're all a little like our parents, no matter how hard we wish we weren't. But god forbid I ever share in my Mom's affinity for menthols.

-Jess

2 comments:

ninanyc said...

I feel the exact same way about my parents, though I find it comforting to know that they're such a big part of who I am (or that I'm a big part of who they are?).

the almost said...

hah! my mother also smokes menthols. yuck.

sometimes i find myself doing the craziest things, just like my mother. it makes me want to hit myself on the head.

eventually, i just might.